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» 11.11.2010 - Gambia coup "only matter of time"
» 27.09.2010 - Gambia Dictator "lied about Obama award"
» 15.07.2010 - Gambian "coup plotters" sentenced to death
» 04.03.2010 - $8 million support for agric production
» 04.03.2010 - Six security officials sacked
» 16.02.2010 - Gambia expels UNICEF envoy
» 07.01.2010 - Kenya deports controversial Muslim cleric
» 19.11.2009 - Gambian president withdraws from Commonwealth meeting

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Gambian journalist found guilty of sedition

afrol News, 19 August - A Gambian journalist has been fined to pay over US $12,000 or face a four-year jail sentence with hard labour.

Fatou Jaw Manneh, who is based in the United States, was the second journalist after Lamin Fatty, a reporter with the banned 'Independent' newspaper, to be convicted on sedition under the Criminal Amendment Code.

A court in Kanifing, 10 km from the capital Banjul, found Ms Manneh guilty of three counts of "publishing seditious words and for spreading false information," contrary to criminal laws of the country.

Before she was put on trial, Fatou was arrested by plaincloth officers at the Banjul International Airport shortly after she returned from the US on 29 March 2007.

The trial magistrate, Buba Jawo, convicted Ms Manneh on her comments posted on that President Yahya Jammeh is "a bundle of terror who is tearing The Gambia in shreds and maltreating people who speak out against him." She described Gambian leader as a "bundle of terror."

The laughing magistrate said the journalist's comments which were neither factual nor justifiable were deliberate and calculated attempts to incite people to hate the President. He said it was wrong for the accused to be in the US and say anything she likes.

Magistrate Jawo ordered the convicted journalist to pay the collosal fine or risked going to jail immediately.

The local press union and family members raised the money to prevent Ms Manneh from going to jail.

Paris media rights watchdog has condemned arguing that it was not the outcome of due process, but the result of the President's personal desire for revenge.

"It highlights the authoritarian nature of a ruler who despises the press and uses the police and judicial system for his personal ends. We are relieved that Manneh was able to raise the money for the fine and thereby avoid imprisonment, and we reiterate our solidarity with Gambia's journalists," said Reporters sans frontières.

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